Employer Nomination Scheme Subclass 186 (ENS)
Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visas, or subclass 186 visas, are permanent residency visas for skilled workers. They are available both to applicants who are already living and working in Australia as temporary residents, and to those living outside Australia. To be eligible for this visa, a skilled individual must be nominated by an Australian employer.
What does this visa allow you to do?
This visa provides the holder with Australian permanent residency with no conditions. Dependent family members may be included. The holder can live and work wherever they like in Australia. Although the visa is granted based on the holder being skilled in a specific occupation, once granted, the visa doesn’t require you to seek or maintain employment in this occupation.
Who can apply for the Subclass 186 visa?
The subclass 186 visa has two streams, the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) Stream and the Direct Entry (DE) Stream. Each stream has different criteria.
To apply in the TRT stream, you must be the holder of a subclass 457 visa, a 482 visa, or a bridging visa granted in association with one of these subclasses.
To apply in the DE stream, you may be in or outside of Australia.
How do I qualify for a Subclass 186 Visa?
The Temporary Residence Transition Stream
There are two cohorts of applicants who may apply through the TRT stream; those who had applied for or held a 457 visa before 18 April 2017, and those who applied for a 457 or 482 visa after 18 April 2017.
If your 457 visa was applied for pre 18 April 2017 and subsequently granted, you can apply for the 186 visa once you have worked with your sponsor for a minimum of two years whilst the holder of this visa, on the basis of grandfathering arrangements set out by the Department of Home Affairs. In this situation, you must be under 50 years of age.
If your 457/482 visa was granted after 18 April 2017, you must have an occupation on the MLTSSL, and can then apply for the 186 visa once you have worked for your sponsor for three years whilst the holder of this visa. This cohort of applicants cannot apply for the 186 visa if they have an occupation on the STSOL. This cohort of applicants cannot apply for the 186 visa if they have an occupation on the STSOL, unless they are located in a regional area, and have worked for the nominating employer for three years whilst the holder of a 457 or 482 visa. Applicants in this situation must be under 45 years of age.
All applicants in this stream must demonstrate that they have earned the salary nominated in their 457/482 nomination in each relevant year.
The Direct Entry Stream
Applicants in the DE stream must have an occupation on the MLTSSL and must obtain a positive skills assessment in this occupation prior to application. At least three years of employment at the skilled level is required. Applicants in the DE stream must be under 45 years of age.
How do I apply for a subclass 186 visa?
An employer nomination must be lodged on behalf of an applicant before a visa application can be made. This nomination will outline the nominated occupation, terms and conditions of employment, and the financial viability of the nominating business. Employers must also detail how the position came to be available and justify the need to nominate the applicant. The nomination must also be accompanied by the Skilling Australia Fund levy. A corresponding visa application can then be submitted.
In all cases, a competent English score (IELTS 6 or equivalent, unless exempt) is required, as well as evidence of meeting the health and character requirements.
Common ScenariosI applied for and was granted a 457 pre 18 April 2017, however I have since changed sponsors. Can I still apply for the 186 visa in the TRT stream once I have been on my 457 for two years?
Yes. Once you have worked for your current sponsor for two years, you can apply for the 186 visa in the TRT stream.
I applied for and was granted a subclass 457 visa after 18 April 2017. My occupation is on the STSOL. Can I still apply for the 186 visa in the TRT stream once I have been on my 457 for two years?
No. Those who obtained a 457 or 482 visa after 18 April 2017 must have an occupation on the MLTSSL to apply for a 186 visa in the TRT or DE stream.
I currently hold a subclass 417 (working holiday) visa. My occupation is on the MLTSSL. Can I apply for the 186 visa in the DE stream?
Yes. Provided you can obtain a migration skills assessment, and meet all other eligibility criteria, you can apply for the 186 visa in the DE stream.
TSS Immigration assists ENS visa applicants and their employers throughout these applications, identifying the correct stream for the individual application and navigating the complexities associated with each. We provide advice and application management from start to finish to ensure the best possible permanent residence outcome. We also provide representation in skills assessment applications where applicable.